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First Time

Time of past OR future Camino
May 28-July 9 2024
Hello all, glad to be onboard for my first solo Camino. Coming from Colorado USA. Flying into Barcelona for sightseeing then up to Saint Jean to begin June 1. Already made reservation 2 nights SJPDP, 1 night Roncesvalles and 1 night Zubiri. I figure once I have a few days under my belt I can then go day by day. My question - should I make more reservations, should I bring a water bladder and how much cash (euros) should I start with? Is tipping required in Spain. Thanks
 
St James' Way - Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading to Southampton, 110 kms
You'll know whether you need more reservations after you get going. June is not as busy on the Camino as May so you can gauge that after you are walking. I don't use a water bladder, but that is a personal preference. Do what works best for you. If it is just you alone, I would get 200 euros out of the cash machine after you arrive in Spain and then replenish when you get down to about 50 euros. Again, you'll figure out what works for you once you get into a rhythm of walking. Tipping is not required.
 
Welcome to the forum…a great source of information and encouragement. How you will carry your water is such a personal choice. I chose a water bladder which worked for me as it allowed me easy access to it and drinking more consistently throughout the day. I started with $300 euros and topped up as needed as some albergues I paid with credit card.

As for reservations at that time of year, someone who walked then will surely be able to help.

Buen camino.
 
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Hello all, glad to be onboard for my first solo Camino. Coming from Colorado USA. Flying into Barcelona for sightseeing then up to Saint Jean to begin June 1. Already made reservation 2 nights SJPDP, 1 night Roncesvalles and 1 night Zubiri. I figure once I have a few days under my belt I can then go day by day. My question - should I make more reservations, should I bring a water bladder and how much cash (euros) should I start with? Is tipping required in Spain. Thanks
Hello! Sounds like you are well on your way. Very exciting. :D

Reservations, I echo the above comments. You will get a feel for it as you get going, you've got the beginning covered and this may be all you need. If you are an early riser you could make it to your next destination before things fill up. If you like to stroll along and take many breaks you might consider reserving a day or so ahead. The Camino will reveal itself and give you what you need.

Water, how one carries their water is such a personal decision. I've used a bladder on del Norte but a water bottle on the CF. Upon arrival I'll purchase a bottle of water, the kind that comes in a hard plastic bottle, they hold up better. Then fill it as I go at the many water fonts along the way.

Cash, yes. Same as above. I use a money belt to hold my extra cash, US Passport and credit card. My money belt stays on my person, under my clothes 24/7 even when I sleep. When showering I slip it into a large zip lock bag and keep it with me.

You're going to have the time of your life.
Buen Camino!
:cool:👣🌻
 
Hello all, glad to be onboard for my first solo Camino. Coming from Colorado USA. Flying into Barcelona for sightseeing then up to Saint Jean to begin June 1. Already made reservation 2 nights SJPDP, 1 night Roncesvalles and 1 night Zubiri. I figure once I have a few days under my belt I can then go day by day. My question - should I make more reservations, should I bring a water bladder and how much cash (euros) should I start with? Is tipping required in Spain. Thanks
Welcome!

I think you've made enough reservations to start. Some people like water bladders; some don't. I've never used one. I generally carry a few hundred euros and top up when I get low. You can probably get by with less now, as plastic has been more accepted since the onset of Covid, but I expect cash is still preferred for small purchases, and of course it will be needed if you are staying in donativos. I don't think tipping is generally required in Spain, but I'm sure it is likely to be appreciated. It is generally at a lower level than in customary in North America.

Buen Camino!
 
Since you have two nights booked in SJPdP you might consider splitting the first stage into two days - you can use the Express Bourricot Mountain shuttle to pick you up at the Virgin of Orisson the first day. Then the next day they take you back to the same spot in the morning.

 
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Hello and welcome
so just like so many before me stated - how you carry water is your personal choice. I absolutely prefer bladder as I have a very hard time retrieving bottles from side pockets and totally love the ability to "just suck on that tube" at any given time as per my whim of the moment. To me that trumps any other 'disadvantages" (not knowing how much left - well... be proactive and make sure you check on every rest stop you make when the pack is off... not so hard to do; if REALLY pushing the issue - replenish as well; bacteria grows in it - the way that water flows - bacteria never has a chance to settle in. besides one can always hang it upside down on a clothes line with your socks and underwear - the Summer sun dries it up more than adequate; the weight - not getting into that argument. I went out with a 3L bladder and was never sorry - not for a single moment)

I believe I tapped ATM for 250E when I landed in Paris. I'm one of those folks that operate with CC whenever and wherever I can. A simple "tarjeta, si?" question of the proprietor settles that. Many argue that "its better to pay cash" and site lots of reasons for their thinking. Once more - not getting into any arguments and lots of them are quite valid but thats me and thats the way I chose to do things and (GULP! :oops:) its MY CAMINO! ;). That 250E lasted me thus quite a long time; IIRC next time I hit ATM was in Burgos.
No in Spain (as in most of Europe) tips are not required and are not 'expected' as they are here in US. If the service was quite good - the customary thing is to round up the bill to the next Euro or perhaps you can leave couple of coins on the bill plate. IMHO tipping more than 2E (say on a Menu Del Dia meal) is somewhat 'excessive' although this is another one of your personal choices (its just as you wanted to know - not done)

I like @trecile s suggestion about using EB since you actually already have 2 nights stay at SJ. Unless you were planning on looking at sites - then a nice walk to Orisson (and a rest on their deck\patio; esp. if the weather is nice - to soak up the Pyrenees scenery) or even push it to The Virgin - and coming back with greatly reduce the stress of that 1st day.

Some folks like to reserve as far as Pamplona (or if you simply like to do it by count - for the 1st 5 nights) and then start playing it by happenings of the day. Wichever way you decided to go - there is no wrong here just whatever you feel will work for you

Good luck and Buen Camino.
 
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Hello all, glad to be onboard for my first solo Camino. Coming from Colorado USA. Flying into Barcelona for sightseeing then up to Saint Jean to begin June 1. Already made reservation 2 nights SJPDP, 1 night Roncesvalles and 1 night Zubiri. I figure once I have a few days under my belt I can then go day by day. My question - should I make more reservations, should I bring a water bladder and how much cash (euros) should I start with? Is tipping required in Spain. Thanks
Hello,
wha are all these people thinking they should make reservations?
I never did reservations over 12.000km Caminos, except for the first nite, and occasionally for the nite Saturday -Sunday (in cities in Spain).
June is not a high season.

godd luck & Ultreia!
chronicwalker
 
Hello,
wha are all these people thinking they should make reservations?
I never did reservations over 12.000km Caminos, except for the first nite, and occasionally for the nite Saturday -Sunday (in cities in Spain).
June is not a high season.

godd luck & Ultreia!
chronicwalker
Some people like to start with reservations so they don't have to be worried about where they will be sleeping when they are getting their bearings. Afterwards, they may want to make reservations so they know where they will be sleeping, especially if there are albergues that take reservations that they have heard good things about and want to stay at (places like Orisson, Borda, and Casa Susi on the Frances or Casa da Fernanda on the Portugues come to mind).
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Hello,
wha are all these people thinking they should make reservations?
I never did reservations over 12.000km Caminos, except for the first nite, and occasionally for the nite Saturday -Sunday (in cities in Spain).
June is not a high season.

godd luck & Ultreia!
chronicwalker
Hello, I did not post on this site to receive judgement or opinion. As I said I am a first timer and was under the impression I would get valuable information about how the Camino the process works. Without experience and really looking forward to this trip your comment stung me. I hope I will meet kinder people on the trail.
 
Hello, I did not post on this site to receive judgement or opinion. As I said I am a first timer and was under the impression I would get valuable information about how the Camino the process works. Without experience and really looking forward to this trip your comment stung me. I hope I will meet kinder people on the trail.
You will meet all kinds of people anywhere you travel and especially very « kind » people on the camino ❤️
 
Hello, I did not post on this site to receive judgement or opinion. As I said I am a first timer and was under the impression I would get valuable information about how the Camino the process works. Without experience and really looking forward to this trip your comment stung me. I hope I will meet kinder people on the trail.
Unfortunately, unwanted opinions are always part of any online forums.
There will always be someone who will tell you that they have never made reservations. That's their choice, and there's nothing wrong with making a different choice. I think that you have received several positive recommendations. Ignore those that don't feel right for you.

Buen Camino!
 
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Hello, I did not post on this site to receive judgement or opinion. As I said I am a first timer and was under the impression I would get valuable information about how the Camino the process works. Without experience and really looking forward to this trip your comment stung me. I hope I will meet kinder people on the trail.
The first time I walked without booking, but now I will book the first few nights for peace of mind. If other people do things differently that's all good, we are all different ages, levels of health, and fitness. We each do what we need to allow us to walk.
As in normal life, some people will be judgmental, I pay no mind.

I dont use a bladder, I prefer a bottle. The first time I used cash everywhere, since then Ive found cards more accepted, so I bring less cash now.
 
Hello, I did not post on this site to receive judgement or opinion. As I said I am a first timer and was under the impression I would get valuable information
Well... to be fair, you have to agree that any 'valuable information' you will get from asking THE WHOLE FORUM will be a collection of "individual opinions' of the Esteemed members and, as such, you DID POST to receive just that ;)
Judgments - I concur we don't need, but lets chalk it up for the fact that you will get some, shall we say, 'strong opinions'... and leave it at that.

IMHO you got couple of excellent responses (incl. mine if I may say so myself 😇) so concentrate of positive and start weaving stuff that you will find useful and weed out the rest. It will all work out one way or another - there are literally millions gazillions Pilgrims walking that route and you will hear many more opinions and you will meet all kinds - look at everything as "your Camino experience" and perhaps learn to prepare yourself for you next one (cause there WILL be a next one even if you say 'no' now 😁)

Now... what does MunichMaria doing in Colorado, may I ask? ❤️ ☮️
 
Hello, I did not post on this site to receive judgement or opinion. As I said I am a first timer and was under the impression I would get valuable information about how the Camino the process works. Without experience and really looking forward to this trip your comment stung me. I hope I will meet kinder people on the trail.
You will!
Buen Camino
 
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Oh man! @munichmaria51 you'll come to learn that, in Camino-related circles, casually asking about reservations is like casually asking about presidential candidates.

Reservations: I think you're good for now. Once you're walking, ask other pilgrims about their not/booking experiences every day, to figure out what everyone else is doing. Then just start doing that, or at least what those people whose circumstances most similar to yours are doing.

Water bladder: for the Frances, I think a 1L water bottle should be enough. A water bladder can be less hassle, but it also makes it difficult to keep track of how much you have left.

Cash: These days, cards are very widely accepted, but I like to err on the side of caution with money. On my last Camino, I kept 500 EUR with me, and topped it off once it dropped to 250. This was ridiculous overkill though, and I would have been more than fine with half of that. (In my defense, I was on the Mozarabe/VldP and was sceptical about how often I'll see an ATM.)

Tipping: not expected. Being a waiter is a normal job in Spain.
 
Well... to be fair, you have to agree that any 'valuable information' you will get from asking THE WHOLE FORUM will be a collection of "individual opinions' of the Esteemed members and, as such, you DID POST to receive just that ;)
Judgments - I concur we don't need, but lets chalk it up for the fact that you will get some, shall we say, 'strong opinions'... and leave it at that.

IMHO you got couple of excellent responses (incl. mine if I may say so myself 😇) so concentrate of positive and start weaving stuff that you will find useful and weed out the rest. It will all work out one way or another - there are literally millions gazillions Pilgrims walking that route and you will hear many more opinions and you will meet all kinds - look at everything as "your Camino experience" and perhaps learn to prepare yourself for you next one (cause there WILL be a next one even if you say 'no' now 😁)

Now... what does MunichMaria doing in Colorado, may I ask? ❤️ ☮️
Hello and thank you for your response. I was born and raised in Germany until my parents immigrated to the US. Colorado is a beautiful state and its outdoor life is integral to its citizens. I return to Europe every year to hike the Alps and explore. The Camino has been on my bucket list for many years. I intend to do the Camino then visit my relatives in Germany. I am very excited.
 
I am not a water bladder fan, but I know lots of people use them. I just buy a bottle of water and then reuse it/refill it. My next Camino plan is to use my running vest style pack and bring refillable soft flasks for the vest pockets.

As for money, I always get 300€ in small bills from my US bank before I leave so I am ready to go as soon as I get there. I in fact, that was all the cash I needed on the Portuguese as a lot of places took cards. I even saw people using Apple Pay with their phone 🤷🏼‍♀️ Progress I guess.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.

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